TACOMA, Wash. – In honor of National Mustang Day, we’ve decided to open up our mail vault to reveal information we’ve been hanging onto for several years now that suggests Mustang was first produced way back in 1948. Of course any Ford pony car purist worth their salt knows that April 17, 1964, is the official introduction date for the Ford Mustang, but when we got word about a car called Mustang that dates back to just after World War II, we paid attention!
The email we received about that 1948 car came from Mustang enthusiast Russ Wilcoxson in Tacoma, Washington, back on January 27, 2013. We met Russ at an event banquet, and after talking to him for a while he promised to send us a surprise. We must admit his email was certainly surprising. “Click on the attachment for a picture of the 1948 Mustang,” he wrote in his email. “Thanks for coming to our banquet.”
The caption that came with the grainy, black-and-white ad copy read as follows: “Designed by Roy C. McCarty, a former service manager for Lincoln Motor Division in Dearborn, the “Mustang” was introduced in 1948 by Mustang Engineering Corp., of Renton, Washington. Although production was planned at 8-10 cars a day by 1949, it appears that only this one prototype ever emerged. Built on a 102-inch wheelbase, the body was of aluminum skin over a tubular frame. The car seated six; two in bucket seats in the front, and four on the rear bench seat. In the rear was housed the compact power unit, which could be slid out from under the car when the body was raised. This unit consisted of a 59 horsepower 4-cylinder water cooled Hercules engine, a Warner 3-speed transmission, and the rear axle. Luggage was stored in a fairly large compartment behind the rear seat. The projected price of the Mustang was $1,235, had production ever started.”
After seeing the photo and caption, we emailed Russ to ask if he knew anything more about it – we’d love to learn more. So a bit later, he sent along an ad out of Buckley, Washington, entitled: “Looking for Info on 1948 Mustang.” It read: “My husband's grandfather owned this company and built this Mustang, we have the blueprints, advertisements, stock certificates, pictures, etc. Not a lot of stuff, but some pretty interesting reading if anyone is interested. We have been looking for one of these cars that might have survived, I believe that he only made 12 of them. If anyone has any more information on where one might be we would be very interested.”
Russ later even connected with the family that placed the ad and told us that, “Brian McCarty just called and would be more than willing to share what they have with you. He will get in touch with you. How cool is that? WOW!”
It was very cool, indeed – except that we were never able to connect with the McCarty family. We never heard anything about it again for about another year, when a story on the car appeared on TheOldMotor.com website. But the information trail went cold again until just last year, when the BangShift.com site uncovered some new info on the car. We’re still hoping to connect with the McCarty family to see if they ever found one of those 1948 Mustangs that are said to exist. If you have more info, or know where one is, please contact us at ClubHub@Ford.com.